The U.H.D Yawn
You're not going to meet anybody on the bus. You're not going to reach for the same Michael Chabon novel as someone else in the book store, accidentally bumping glasses and nervously picking up the contents of one another's bags. No one is going to place an "I Saw You" ad because you wore a red coat downtown on Tuesday. The cello player in front of Nordstrom's is cold. He doesn't remember you. He will not call you if you drop a mysterious Opium scented note in his case. No one is going to buy you a drink because they were so impressed by your dancing. The girl in the video store does not keep secret tabs on what you rent, hoping to unlock the enigma that is you. She does not smell the cassettes as soon as you return them. There will be no one older and intellectually stimulating in your community college class on major British writers. The UPS guy does not care whether you wear a bra. The barista is never going to offer more than an extra shot "on the house" and some idle morning chit chat. You're never going to get to know her.
You're in Seattle and everyone has too many cats, or has a dog more important than you'll ever be. Or they are allergic, which is annoying, but not as annoying as the people who pretend to be allergic because they don't like animals or because they wear too much black. Not as annoying as the people who say they've just got allergies right now, but they've always got allergies. There are bigger annoyances than vegetarians. There are wheat-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free, organic, holistic, vegan massage therapy students who listen to Moby & the Cowboy Junkies, and sometimes you listen to Moby & the Cowboy Junkies, but that's different. You're not an organic, holistic, vegan massage therapy student. You don't blabber about the friendly flora in your intestines, and your wheat allergy, and how much better your life is now that you've overcome the American diet. You can't help noticing that their eyes are dull despite their convincing testimony. That their hair is stringy and their toothpaste seems to be lacking fluoride. In fact, before they actually spoke you thought they were British. Your bathroom smells of rotting corn after they've used it and their skin is thin, livid, see-through. You can barely handle the duality of guilt and relief as you ask for more coffee, ask the hostess for cream cheese—your bagel needs cream cheese and your coffee needs cream and sugar.
You feel okay, but are you? Maybe things would turn around is you had more friendly flora in your intestines. Maybe waiters would write poems and phone numbers on the backs of dropped checks. You miss the Southwest sometimes, during the last of winter's cling. Your passion is damp and sits low to the ground here—rarely enflamed, thinly spread in the knees. What's mistaken for passion here is soulless and intellectual—it wears turtlenecks and smells of fat wet wool. You no longer like anger or fruit or nudity. You grow your hair opposite of the way men are supposed to like it. You're employed and you get plenty of sleep. You listen to jazz and you read the paper. Your cats get fed. You handle arguments in a mature manner. You eat sushi, wear beige, buy comfortable shoes. You're punctual enough. Someone tells you have a "yoga body." You sneer at people who do Pilates, but secretly, you envy them. You buy albums with clever lyrics about Busby Berkeley and Charlotte Gainsbourg and you play them for other people and you chuckle a little so that they know that you know who Busby Berkeley and Charlotte Gainsbourg are.
Sudden S.O.S. to every face you pass on the street—my god, man! Shake out the dry leather creases. Hang me for all I'm worth. Slap me until I hear Meringue. Harvest all the five-star Thai spice I've ingested simply to remember what it feels like to burn.
About the author:
Karyna McGlynn is a writer and photographer living in Seattle. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Wisconsin Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Plainsongs, No Exit, The Paumanok Review, The Blue Mouse, and Medicinal Purposes Literary Review. Ms. McGlynn is the editor of her own small press, Screaming Emerson, which publishes chapbooks by northwest writers attempting to bridge the gap between page and stage. Karyna attends the creative writing program at Seattle University and teaches performance poetry in her spare time.